In the Music Man, Professor Harold Hill first imagined all sorts of pernicious consequences arising from a Pool Hall coming to River City, and then, of course, had just the solution to the self-created problem – musical instruments and band uniforms that he sold. In the end, after Hill collected his money – and seduced the local librarian, the uniforms and instruments never arrived, but the townspeople “felt better” about themselves.
Just like Professor Harold Hill, Cincinnati is being sold century-old solutions to its perceived transportation problems in the form of a 2012 “Trolley,” that will never be built. Mayor Mallory and a solid Council majority are backing the foolish plan that will drain needed financial resources from the City.
So, COAST poses the question to Cincinnati: Which local politico most resembles Professor Harold Hill, seducing the City with imaginary solutions to perceived community problems, fleecing the populace in the process?
Mayor Mark Mallory? Councilmember Chris Bortz? Cincinnatians for Progress? Donald Mooney? Jeff Berding? Parsons Brinkerhoff? Fred Craig?
COAST pushed out links to these two videos today promoting the contest:
Here is a video of the movie version of Prof. Hill in action.
This one is a Simpsons spoof of the Music Man. Substitute Cincinnati for Springfield, Portland for Shelbyville, and streetcar for monorail, and it's simply amazing how familiar this fraud looks. Except even in the spoof they planned to vote on it. Still, we need your help to cast the starring role.Please let COAST know which politico you nominate for its new Prof. Harold Hill award!
“The Music Man” was written by Meredith Wilson. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1958 and was adapted into a film starring Robert Preston in 1962. The show is based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys' band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naive townsfolk before skipping town with the cash. In River City, Iowa, prim Marian the librarian sees through him, but when Hill helps her younger brother, Marian begins to fall in love with Harold. Harold, in turn falling for Marian, risks being caught to win her.
In 1957, the show became a hit on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and running for 1,375 performances. The cast album won the first Grammy Award for "Best Original Cast Album". The show's success led to revivals and a popular 1962 film adaptation. It is still frequently produced by both professional and amateur theater companies.